A great topic.
I dunno about others, but I exercise to eat. Well I will talk about Granny instead though. (Let's just say my mom has been a full time teacher with zero cooking ability)
I have said somewhere before that my father side of heritage is South and my mother side is North, so naturally I managed to enjoy a mix of two traditional styles of Chinese. For those who cares to know: Shandong & Cantonese. Cantonese should be familiar, 70+% of western Chinese food falls in this style (or a mutant from it ).
The same can't be said about Shandong. Of all the western cities I have visited (plenty but not many, granted), I have failed to find one true dish from it. Kinda sad... you can find Jing and Shanghai easily, and these two are not one of the old eights.
(Btw, those Jing and Shanghai that I tried, many awarded and acclaimed by western magazines, were not true to the style they claim to be. The food was good, but I felt very badly about this. It is still fraud no matter how you look at it. Don't trust a western Chinese restaurant is the conclusion I made )
But I'm off topic, the dish I wanted to say is a kind of plain dumpling. It is a Northern recipe among commoner, and each Chinese new year we used to gather and make it. Following the tradition, so to speak. We stopped because of granny's age nowadays and it is the one dish I truly missed.
The dumpling itself has no sharp flavor, but it is comfortable to the stomach. In fact, it is both the rice and the course. While the recipe is important, the key is still the skin, and there is no shortcut to it but polished skill.
I think it is a really important feature that is ignored in modern Chinese (and not just Chinese). Food that is comfortable, hearty, and healthy.